CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, a Bradenton-based group formed to bring workers and employers together, has received an economic development award for its efforts.
The International Economic Development Council will give CareerEdge its Human Capital Program Award to recognize the group’s work in workforce development. CareerEdge will be given the award during the council’s annual conference, scheduled for October in Philadelphia.
CareerEdge works to identify employers’ needs and then channel funding to improve regional workers’ skills to meet those needs.
As workers become better trained and more skilled, CareerEdge believes, they will be qualified for promotion, creating openings for entry-level workers.
In the last three years, CareerEdge has focused particularly on finding and training health care workers and identifying skill gaps in manufacturing.
“We are delighted to accept the award, in that it is actual national recognition of what we have achieved here locally,” said CareerEdge executive director Nathalie deWolf. “And we are really grateful to our funders for having the vision and the tenacity to help us achieve this success.”
Formed in 2009, CareerEdge is one of only 31 collaboratives across the United States funded by the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.
Locally, the group gets financial support from a wide range of donors, such as the Gulf Coast Community Foundation; the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority; the Central Community Redevelopment Agency of Bradenton; Manatee Community Action Agency; and Sarasota County government.
CareerEdge has raised $3.8 million since its inception.
One current focus is on expanding a program called “Bridges to Careers” from Manatee County into Sarasota County. For that program, CareerEdge’s partner is the Suncoast Workforce Board, which operates a trio of local employment centers.
“We try to take entry-level job seekers and guide them toward vocational programs,” deWolf said.
The idea is to give job seekers basic job-readiness training and then vocational training.
“It was only funded in Manatee,” she said. “We will do a similar outreach in Sarasota, rolling it out in October.”